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Episode 17: Bringing Trauma-Informed Practices Into the Classroom, with Rachel Freeman

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Hey, Teachers of Littles out there!

Somehow it’s already time to start thinking about back-to-school prep, but this year, the prep is like no other year before. Reentry looks wildly different from state to state, and in some cases, even from district to district!

Many of our Littles have experienced some form of trauma due to Covid-19, and regardless of the reentry strategy, our Littles may feel overwhelmed to be back, as well as with the new regulations, like distancing and wearing masks. How can we make our classroom strategies reflect that so that we can make reentry a smoother transition for everybody?

Enter Rachel Freeman from, a dual-certified special education and elementary education teacher, with a MA in curriculum instruction, as well as a certification in trauma-informed practice for children and adolescents. Rachel’s passion is creating a safe space where all students feel comfortable to take risks, and I had a blast geeking out on this topic with her for this episode. I can’t wait to share all of her tips and tricks with my wonderful Teacher Peeps out there!

Pop in those earbuds, pour yourself a cup of tea, and join us as we do a deep-dive into the topics of mindful reentry and addressing trauma in early childhood! Rachel and I chatted about how and why to use natural consequences to work on shifting behaviors in early childhood, as well as about concepts like mindset (you are NOT responsible for the behavioral response of a child), the goals of safety and setting up a child to excel, building a strong foundation, and when you should and shouldn’t offer your Little choices. Sometimes choices give our Littles some control in a crazy world, but other times it might be preferable to plant seeds and step back to allow them to process. 

We also talk about how stopping to question yourself and your practices, and staying on the learning track, is what makes you a truly great teacher!

At the end of the day, our main focus going into the school year should be on rebuilding trust; just being there for our Littles. Remember, connection over task completion!


  • Addressing the collective trauma around reentry as the year begins. (03:50)

  • Trauma-informed discipline techniques and shifting behaviors. (05:08)

  • What does trauma-informed mean, and who is it for? (08:45)

  • Go-to tips we can all implement right away. (13:32)

  • The effects of trauma on behavior, and how choices can affect this behavior. (16:32)

  • The long-term effects of "planting seeds." (19:57)

  • Rebuilding that trust and connection, and how to help kids who struggle with remote learning if that's your current reality. (24:55)

  • Honesty, communication, and advocacy regarding IEP goals. (28:28)

  • Boundary and attachment issues, and using trauma-informed practices to model better and stronger boundaries for the parent while using distance learning. (31:02)

Rachel recommended a couple of amazing books at the 12:05 mark that I cannot wait to sink my teeth into! Here are the titles so you can check them out:

  • Lost at School by Dr. Ross Greene

  • The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris

Tag us on instagram and let us know if you have any questions on trauma-informed practices @themagicoflittles and @_safespaceteaching! And tag me @themagicoflittles and let me know what YOUR back-to-school prep is looking like this year!

Send me your thoughts, questions, and feedback at!

You can contact Rachel via email at, or on instagram -- let her know if you would be interested in a Covid-based bootcamp with trauma-informed strategies to go back into this school year!

This week, I hosted a Q&A in The Magic of Littles facebook group to address the questions around how to engage families when they can’t physically be a part of the classroom. Go check it out and share your thoughts with me over in the comments! See ya there!

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